RCIA 507-521: Receiving the Candidates

img_6803The combined rite of acceptance and welcoming is the second-most involved of all the RCIA rites, behind the combined Easter Vigil. A celebrant is on his toes to sort out the unbaptized from the baptized.

A priest or deacon may preside at this rite, and, accompanied by a psalm or “appropriate” song, goes to greet the newcomers, their sponsors, and a “group of the faithful” to where they wait outisde the church (or elsewhere) (RCIA 507).

The celebrant greets these people with the given text or similar words (508) and inviting the newcomers and their sponsors forward, an appropriate song, “for example, Psalm 63:1-8″ is sung.

The name of each candidate may be asked, or it may be called out, or if everyone knows the newcomers, the presider may skip to the questions, “What do you ask of God’s Church?” et cetera, first for the unbaptized, then the baptized. (509)

For the unbaptized, at the bishop’s discretion, a rite of exorcism and renunciation of false worship may be inserted here (510), otherwise the catechumens will observe their first acceptance of the Gospel (511) as in RCIA 52. The candidates will then be asked to declare their intent to become Catholic, to join in catechesis, prayer, and service to others.

The sponsors and assembly are asked to affirm their support (513) and after a brief prayer and acclamation (see RCIA 53). The signing of the forehead and optionally, the additional senses follow, first for the catechumens (514-516) and then for the baptized candidates (517-519). Most often I have seen these signing combined, but the rite doesn’t appear to offer this option.

A concluding prayer (520) precedes an invitation into the church. During this procession (521), Psalm 34 is the recommended song, as it is in RCIA 60, but another “appropriate” selection may be made.

The texts are largely lifted from the catechumens’ Rite of Acceptance and from the candidates Rite of Welcoming. Fewer options are given in terms of prayer texts, but the essence is that this all takes place before the liturgy of the word, and that like the single rites, this combination involves a significant deviation from the usual Sunday practice in a parish: no Kyrie and no Gloria, and none of the usual introductory fare.

Comments on any of that? Do your parishes make a practice of separating the rites, or combining them as they are presented?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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